In June 2006, Danna and Adam Caldwell came to us with a plan to open a DIY frozen yogurt bar (this was before fro-yo shops were on every corner). They didn’t want to be just another chic, Southern California Pinkberry knock-off. They were doing their own thing, and they wanted it clear from the start.
THE PROCESS DOESN'T DRIVE THE BRAND
Our immediate concern was that the DIY concept wasn’t enough to build the brand on. Instead, we focused on a distinct personality for the brand that would differentiate them long-term. We skipped the sleek, chic Pinkberry look and went all-in on the fun.
GO WITH THE FLOW
In-store experience goals were to…
- Create a fluid path for movement through the space. A circular kiosk welcomes customers and anchors movement. Directional and identification signage aids the self-serve process.
- Bring the playfulness of the brand into the space without going “theme park.” A mix of bright brand colors offset by natural textures keeps things from getting overwhelming.
UN-LICENSED TO DRIVE
Taking their identity a step further than the logotype, we created the whimsical “Menchie” character in a kitschy, Kawaii style that could appeal both to children and adults. By developing a mascot and the supporting “friends,” Menchies had a proprietary set of characters that could be developed over time without dealing with licensing fees.
GOOD TO GO
Much like Starbucks owns the green circle on a coffee cup, we made the strategic decision that Menchie’s would own the plum yogurt cup—and it has served them well. When they first started getting attention from the press, paparazzi shots of stars carrying the iconic plum cup helped put Menchie’s on top in Southern California. Once the “ownership” was well established, we introduced limited edition cup designs to surprise loyal customers.
RULES WERE MADE TO BE BROKEN
Keeping the overall branding cohesive and consistent allowed us to be a little more playful when it came to promotional campaigns. Character illustrations interacting with real world photography and playful pop-culture references reinforces the brand personality and supports the corporate motto: we make you smile.
A SWEET COLLECTION
The characters developed—especially the main mascot—lend themselves particularly well to a merchandise collection. Menchie’s merch…
- Encourages customer loyalty
- Increases the average purchase
- Offers off-season gift ideas
- Provides goodies for events held in the Menchie’s party room
As Menchie’s grew to an international franchise, the main character became a wonderful unifying element from country to country. Seeing him “travel” the world was both inspirational for the corporate team and for franchisees expanding into new territory.
Over time, the Menchie’s website grew from a basic brochure-style site to a more expansive iteration. Back then, longer content-rich pages and infinite scroll weren’t popular web practice. Our job was to keep crucial content well-organized without losing the fun factor.
- Featured flavors and promotions
- Franchise opportunities
- Global location search
- Customer loyalty program
- Social media feed
"We had an idea, but Works Progress found our image. And people are really responding. The feedback we’ve gotten so far from everyone (customers, press, investors) has been so positive, we’re already making plans for more stores. Not bad for only being open six months."
—Adam Caldwell, VP + Co-Founder
Joyful branding garners immediate interest from press, investors, and prospective franchisees.
By focusing on the brand’s personality vs DIY process, Menchie’s safeguards from copycats.
Customers demonstrate unparalleled loyalty as their passion for the brand ignites a social media frenzy.
"Fro-yo shops such as Pinkberry and Valley Village‘s new Menchie‘s are attracting crowds that previously hung out at Starbucks or the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Actual ‘scenes’ are developing, partially because of their interior design."
—Charlie Amter, Los Angeles Times
FRANCHISE FAST TRACK
Multiple units in California within 2 years. US franchise within 3 years. Global franchise within 6 years.
10-year plan to be a US franchise met within 3 years.
Set the new industry standard in your category.
Need more convincing? Check out one of these success stories...